I played hooky from the office this morning. My hours have really been weighing down on me, and with my recent back injury, I really wanted a break.
Then my wife begged me to take our daughter to school. And stop at the store. And find the shopping list in her car. I was unhappy. I made her cry.
You see, today is my father-in-law’s birthday. He was born 70-odd years ago today. He died less than three months ago. It’s not going to be an easy day. I apologized and worked on getting my daughter ready.
My daughter has, like most children, traits from both of her parents. From her mother she has a distaste for mornings. When I went to wake her she actually gave me a groggy “talk to the hand” gesture. Everything was a struggle this morning—teeth, hands, asthma medicine, clothes, and finally, coat. Our house is under construction from a horrible ice dam incident, and the coat closet is tough to get to. This answer did not satisfy my daughter’s desire to wear a different coat, one thing led to another, and she had lost her TV privileges and shut herself in her room. It was five-to-nine, and I had lost through winning. My wife, trying to claw her way back to sleep, strongly suggested that I learn to de-escalate more effectively, and gave me some specific suggestions. A few minutes later, we were in the car and off to school.
Four-year olds like their routines, and I wandered into the trap of trying to fit a small but willful human into mine. My roll-out-of-bed jump-in-the-shower run-out-the-door routine didn’t match hers, and the predictable happened. Hopefully I’ve learned two good lessons—be nice to my wife, and don’t push it with the kid.